We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Logical Fallacies of Insufficient Evidence?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Logical fallacies are errors of reason that can occur in inductive reasoning. Since inductive reasoning moves from the particular to the general, it is important to determine how much and what kind of evidence you need to make a valid argument. Failure to have proper evidence is linked to several kinds of logical fallacies.

Since logic is one of the main techniques used in persuasion, being able to identify and discount logical fallacies in others' arguments and avoid making them in one's own arguments are both important. One of the things that can undermine logic is basing an argument on insufficient evidence. There are several errors that one can make related to insufficient evidence as one chooses evidence to bolster an argument, and the following fallacies of insufficient evidence occur so frequently that they are named.

Hasty Generalization. A hasty generalization bases a conclusion on too little evidence. An example is: This winter was colder than last winter: the climate must be getting colder. This is a logical fallacy of insufficient evidence because more evidence than a change for one year is needed to establish a climatic trend.

Fallacy of Exclusion. Leaving out evidence that would lead to a different conclusion is called the fallacy of exclusion. An example is: In the presidential elections of 2000 and 2005, Florida went to Bush, so it must be a Republican state. In fact, the evidence from 1996, which I purposely excluded from the sentence above, shows that Florida went to Clinton in that election, making this, too, a fallacy of insufficient evidence. By choosing to begin with the data from 2000, I was able to exclude evidence that contradicted the conclusion I wished to draw for the sake of this exercise.

Fallacy of Oversimplification. In this fallacy, some aspects of an issue -- generally more subtle ones -- and their ramifications are not explored. An example is: The question of funding medical research comes down to this: do we want to heal the sick and help the injured to recover -- or not? This argument ignores questions of funding sources, differing states of research in different areas of health care, an so on, so it falls into the category of insufficient evidence. By avoiding reference to any complexities, including the possibility that some issues may never have a successful resolution, this argument makes the choice seem to be solely about good will towards the less fortunate.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for Language & Humanities, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
By ceilingcat — On Aug 02, 2011

@sunnySkys - I think you're right. I often hear logical fallacies in arguments that make sense until you think them through a little more.

I think a lot of people make hasty generalizations regarding either gender. For example, I hear a lot of "My husband never helps out around the house." Then if there are other ladies within ear shot some says something like "Men never do" or "Men are always so lazy." Of course this isn't the case with all men, but the presented evidence makes it seem to be so!

By sunnySkys — On Aug 01, 2011

I think a lot of groups with extreme viewpoints often lack evidence for some of the assertions they make. And I mean that for groups on the far right or on the far left.

That is why us every day, normal folks need to pay close attention to important issues. We need to actually get the facts in order to form a valid opinion. I think one of the biggest problems with these logical fallacies is that sometimes they actually sound like they make sense! But upon further examination you realize there is insufficient evidence to back it up.

By popcorn — On Aug 01, 2011

It seems to me that hasty generalization is a common way for people to make their point in everyday conversations. There are not many people that would pull out a climate chart to prove you wrong if you say that you think that winters are getting colder and it must be a sign of climate change.

Although you would be lacking a way to prove your point because of insufficient evidence, much of everyday conversation is, and always will be, hasty generalizations. Even our news coverage tends to learn towards sweeping statements, which is where I think the real problem rests.

You would hope that things like news agencies would be more prone to fact checking and making sure they had sufficient evidence, but time and time again you see retractions because they were too hasty because of the need to get a story out.

By letshearit — On Jul 31, 2011

It seems to me that politicians live to use fallacies of oversimplification to get their agendas heard and to sway voters to their sides. While I can understand that it is difficult to get everyone on the same page of a complex issue, it seems to me that the dumbing down of issues is being used more as a tool than as a genuine way to try and help people understand what is happening.

I think you see fallacies of oversimplification happen most often when campaigns deal with things like housing, schooling and funding for things in the community. It seems like it is so much easier to judge a politician's worthiness when you put things like their goals in black and white terms, rather than try and explain why it is we can't have everything we want and how the system works.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.